Egypt sentences TV host to year in prison for interviewing gay man

Mohamed al-Gheiti, who has spoken out against homosexuality on several occasions, was sentenced for ‘offence’ which took place last year

Toyin Owoseje
Monday 21 January 2019 11:25 GMT

An Egyptian TV host has been sentenced to one year in prison after interviewing a gay man on his talk show.

Mohamed al-Gheiti, who previously expressed his stance against homosexuality, invited the man to discuss his lifestyle on air in August 2018.

The move led to the misdemeanors court in Giza charging him with promoting homosexuality, incitement to debauchery and immorality and contempt of religion. He was also fined 3,000 Egyptian pounds (£130).

According to the Egypt Independent, lawyer Samir Sabry filed the case against the TV host with the attorney-general, saying he had violated the basic rules, laws and religious constants.

During the interview, the guest, whose face was blurred to protect his identity, revealed he was a sex worker and openly discussed his relationship with another man.

Mr Sabry insisted that answers to questions about homosexual lifestyles should not be broadcast on satellite or any other media.

After the interview aired on LTC TV, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, Egypt’s top media body, suspended the channel for two weeks for “professional violations”.

The council said at the time that the LTC TV had violated its decision “banning the appearance of homosexuals or promotion of their slogans”.

Mr al-Gheiti will be put under surveillance for one year after serving his one-year prison sentence. The verdict can be appealed, and it can be suspended if he pays bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds pending the outcome of the appeal.

Although homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, members of the LGBT+ community have previously been charged with debauchery in the deeply conservative Muslim country.

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In 2017 the Supreme Council for Media Regulation council banned the appearance of homosexuals on any outlet after a rainbow flag was waved during a concert in Cairo by the Lebanese band Mashrou Leila, who have been outspoken about gay rights.

Mr Sabry said that since the programme had weighed up what would be gained by hosting a gay guest, it would be considered as directly approving the behaviour against law and religion.

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